Sports and vegetarian food

A vegetarian diet is complete for athletes, incl. professional, participating in competitions. Nutritional recommendations for vegetarian athletes should be determined taking into account the effects of both vegetarianism and exercise.

The American Dietetic Association and the Dietetic Organization of Canada position on nutrition for sports provides a good description of the type of nutrition required for athletes, although some modification will be required for vegetarians.

The recommended amount of protein for athletes developing endurance is 1,2-1,4 g per 1 kg of body weight, while the norm for athletes in strength training and resistance to stress is 1,6-1,7 g per 1 kg of body weight. Not all scientists agree on the need for increased protein intake by athletes.

A vegetarian diet that satisfies the energy needs of the body and contains high-protein plant foods such as soy products, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds can provide an athlete with an adequate amount of protein, without the use of additional sources. For adolescent athletes, it is necessary to pay special attention to the energy, calcium, glandular and protein adequacy of their diet. Amenorrhea may be more common among vegetarian athletes than among non-vegetarian athletes, although not all studies support this fact. Vegetarian female athletes can greatly benefit from a diet high in energy, high in fat, and high in calcium and iron.

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